Agora Books Blog Tour for DEAD TO ME by Lesley Pearse

I’m happy today to take part in the Agora Books (UK) blog tour for Dead to Me by Lesley Pearse. I really enjoyed this historical fiction about two friends and their trials and tribulations during WWII in England. I loved the characters of Verity and Ruby and of course I love a happy ending (no spoilers – will there be one??). I didn’t like the character of the father. I felt he was a bit caricaturish. Overall, though, I loved this story of friendship!

Thank you for my copy to review and for making me part of the tour!

Overview:

Hampstead Heath, Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance and become fast friends. They share their romances and heartbreaks, their struggles and dreams. But most of all, they share a sinister secret.

Upon their meeting, Verity and Ruby could not be more different: Verity is the epitome of money and class; Ruby lives a life of squalor and survival. Despite the disparity, an instant affinity forms a resilient bond between the two girls.

Yet, as the outbreak of WWII rumbles throughout Britain, Verity and Ruby’s relationship starts to develop fault lines. Ruby finds herself blissful and in love, while Verity is haunted by a shadow from her past. Separated by more than just distance, the two friends struggle to maintain their relationship until Verity does the one thing she can never take back.

With Britain blitzed by the raging war, will Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?

In this sweeping wartime saga of friendship and love, Pearse explores the depths of lifelong bonds, compassion, betrayal, and forgiveness.

About the Author

Lesley Pearse’s novels have sold over ten million copies worldwide and include, most recently, The Woman in the Wood, Dead to Me, Without a Trace, Survivor, Forgive Me and The Promise. Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and four grandchildren.

Harlequin Winter Reads Blog Tour for: The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat

I’m happy today to be taking part in the blog tour for a new historical novel of WWII: The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat. I’d classify this story as historical romance. It takes place during WWII in the Channel Islands, which, owned by Great Britain, were occupied by Germany during WWII. I actually had no idea that Germany had taken over any part of Britain, so I found this really interesting. Also it was new to me how men were conscripted to join the military for Germany. Life was not easy for those left behind. This story was at times heart- wrenching. I will say that, like always, I enjoyed the historical part more than the romance part, but overall this was a great and interesting historical read of WWII.

Don’t miss the author bio as she’s had an interesting life and has a direct connection to the Channel Islands!

Thank you for making me part of the tour! Harlequin tours never disappoint!!

Book Summary:

An extraordinary story of human triumph against impossible odds

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands–the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies, and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more–this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight wIth the help of her friends and community–and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle, neighbors turn on neighbors, and Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

A sweeping tale of bravery and love under impossible circumstances, Hedy’s remarkable story reminds us that it’s often up to ordinary people to be quiet heroes in the face of injustice.

THE GIRL FROM THE CHANNEL ISLANDS 

Author: Jenny Lecoat

ISBN: 9781525806414

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Publisher: Graydon House Books

Buy Links: Not affiliated with BBNB

Harlequin 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @JennyLecoat

Instagram: NA

Facebook: @JennyLecoat

Goodreads

Author Bio: 

Jenny Lecoat was born in Jersey, Channel Islands, where her parents were raised under German Occupation and were involved in resistance activity. Lecoat moved to England at 18, where, after earning a drama degree, she spent a decade on the alternative comedy circuit as a feminist stand-up. She also wrote for newspapers and women’s magazines (Cosmopolitan, Observer), worked as a TV and radio presenter, before focusing on screenwriting from sitcom to sketch shows. A love of history and factual stories and a return to her island roots brought about her feature film Another Mother’s Son (2017). She is married to television writer Gary Lawson and now lives in East Sussex. The Girl from the Channel Islands is her first novel.

Bookouture Blog Tour for: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham

I loved taking part in this blog tour for a new WWII historical novel: An American in Paris by Siobhan Curham. Florence is a scrappy and big-hearted dancer who’s come to Paris to dance and ends up in love with a young man who’s escaping the Nazi’s. This story is told in shifting viewpoints between Florence in the 1940’s and her granddaughter that she never knew she had, Sage – a young “influencer” who has had enough of the limelight of social media.

Here’s the overview:

Book Description:
Paris, 1940: Walking through Montmartre that morning was like the eerie calm right before a storm. The roads were deserted. We carried on, arm in arm, and then finally, we saw them. Columns and columns of soldiers, spreading through the streets like a toxic grey vapour. ‘You must write about this,’ he whispered to me. ‘You must write about the day freedom left Paris.’

As Nazi troops occupy the City of Lights, American journalist Florence is determined to do everything she can to save her adopted home and the man she loves.

Florence had arrived in Paris in 1937 and on a beautiful summer’s day, met and fell in love with Otto, a Jewish artist from Austria, who had fled persecution in his homeland. But as swastikas are draped along the city’s wide boulevards, everything Otto was running from seems to have caught up with him.

Both Florence and Otto begin lending their talents to the Resistance, working to sabotage the Germans right under their noses. Florence’s society columns that, before the war were filled with tales of glamorous Parisian parties, now document life under occupation and hide coded messages for those fighting outside France for freedom. While Otto risks arrest in order to pin up the anti-Nazi posters he designs by candlelight in their tiny apartment.

But with every passing day, things become more dangerous for Otto to remain in Paris. If Florence risks everything by accepting a secret mission, can she ensure his survival so that they can be reunited once the war is over?

A sweeping wartime story that will capture your heart and never let it go. Fans of The Alice NetworkThe Lost Girls of Paris and My Name is Eva will be absolutely gripped from the very first page.

Author bio:


Siobhan Curham is an award-winning author, ghost writer, editor and writing coach. She has also written for many newspapers, magazines and websites, including The Guardian, Breathe magazine, Cosmopolitan, Writers’ Forum, DatingAdvice.com, and Spirit & Destiny. Siobhan has been a guest on various radio and TV shows, including Woman’s Hour, BBC News, GMTV and BBC Breakfast. And she has spoken at businesses, schools, universities and literary festivals around the world, including the BBC, Hay Festival, Cheltenham Festival, Bath Festival, Ilkley Festival, London Book Fair and Sharjah Reading Festival. 


https://siobhancurham.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Siobhan-Curham-Author-398343120181969
https://twitter.com/SiobhanCurham

Buy Links: (not affiliated with BBNB):
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3mlNzgj

Apple: http://apple.co/2ETJ0tT

Kobo: http://bit.ly/3nm25q2

Google: http://bit.ly/2Ss6CZI

Thank you for my review copy and making me part of the tour!

I really enjoyed this one and if you like this genre, you will, too!

The Lost Village by Daniela Sacerdoti

Description

1945: Two sisters give birth to two little girls on the same night, huddled under blankets, deep in the black woods that surround their village. They hold their babies close as footsteps approach. If they make even the slightest sound, the German soldiers will find them…

2006: Luce Nardini clutches a plane ticket to Italy in her trembling hands. Since her only child left home, and with her estranged husband more distant than ever, she’s been overwhelmed with loneliness. She never knew her father, or the reason why her mother cut all contact with her family in the little village of Bosconero. Lost and unravelling fast, uncovering her roots feels like Luce’s last and only hope.

As Luce searches the maze of cobbled streets, a house with a faded blue door draped in perfect white roses stops her in her tracks. Inside is the grandmother she never knew, who – with a longing look at an ornate wooden box on her nightstand – begins to tell the heart-wrenching story of a little village ravaged by war, and why Luce’s mother fled home and swore never to return.

Surrounded by new friends and faded frescoes of saints, Luce is just starting to feel like she belongs when the unthinkable happens: an earth-shattering disaster that shakes the little village of Bosconero to its core. Could it be that the secrets of Luce’s past have been buried forever?

Frightened, hopeless and feeling more alone than ever before, will the surprise arrival of the husband she thought she’d lost help sew Luce’s family back together, or tear it apart for good? One thing is certain: she must find the little wooden box amongst the rubble of the village and return it to her grandmother. But nothing will have prepared Luce for the devastating betrayal she finds inside…

An unputdownable historical romance about the secrets we keep to protect the ones we love by the author of million-copy Amazon No 1. bestseller, Watch Over Me. Perfect for anyone who loves Fiona Valpy, Lily Graham or The Letter by Kathryn Hughes.

As you know, I LOVE books from this time period and this one was quite suspenseful and exciting. At the same time, it was a bit heart-breaking. I really connected with the character Luce and her search for her past while she was going through an identity crisis of her own. Would I have made the ending different? Probably. But overall, it was a satisfying read.

Highly recommended if you like WWII period historical fiction and romance that toggles from the past to the present.

I also did a little research and you really can buy a house in some parts of Italy for 1 Euro!!

Thank you, Net Galley, for my copy!

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

As you can imagine, I have a LOT of books on my kindle. I actually burnt out my first Kindle by reading more than 400 pages a day (Amazon gave me a discount to replace it).

Right now I have over 125 pages of books in my “library”. With 6 on each page, that’s about 750+ books. Needless to say, I often have to go through them and see what I’ve missed in my TBR pile!

I was searching one day and came across this novel. I really enjoy Pam Jenoff’s historical fiction, and I had actually purchased this book for myself in 2019 as a birthday present. I guess I then forgot about it!

This is a touching and heartfelt story of WWII (you know I’m a big fan!), centering on a family of children that have been torn apart by the war. The two eldest sisters (twins) are trying to keep them all together. One of them, Helena, finds an injured pilot hiding nearby and takes care of him, and (of course) they fall in love.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn’t be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day. 

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena’s concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades. 

This was a very memorable story, and I see that it is the first in a series. If I had one honest complaint, it was that I felt the pacing was rather slow for the first 85% of the book – and that was the perfect fit for the dull winter season that the children were trying to get through. Then suddenly things sped up and happened and the rest of the story was told in a flashback. I guess the novel could have been 600 pages if it was all written out, but I would have loved to read through the happenings.

Maybe that’s in the series? I really don’t know. But I do know that if you like WWII genre and stories of resiliency, this is a good one!

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

I just loved this touching story from Harlequin that was partly historical fiction and partly “women’s fiction”. It was a sweet story with a happy ending and was a nice read during our COVID confinement. Gardens symbolize the eternalness of the seasons and the passing of life and the garden in this story stood for a life well-lived that had been dormant a little too long.

Description

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman’s heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

This is one my mother would have called “a nice story”. It made me cry.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and share about it!

(Net Galley ARC received for free)

Harlequin Blog Tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

I’m thrilled to be part of the Harlequin Summer Reads blog tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards. This was a riveting read of WWII Resistance, centering on two main characters, mother and daughter Lillian and Genevieve. Living in France, both of them were pulled into anti-Nazi activities, risking and often losing much of what they held dear. I couldn’t put it down! Ms. Robards is a new author to me, but I loved her writing and will look for her other novels.

Here’s the overview:

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

BIO: 

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

SOCIAL:

Author Website: http://karenrobards.com/

TWITTER: @TheKarenRobards

FB: @AuthorKarenRobards

Thank you for my ARC and for making me part of the tour!

Buy links provided by Harlequin and not affiliated with BBNB:

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Harlequin Summer Reads Blog Tour for Red Sky over Hawaii by Sarah Ackerman

I’m thrilled to take part in Harlequin’s Summer Reads Blog Tour today, dishing about Red Sky over Hawaii by Sarah Ackerman! This was a compelling story – WWII historical fiction/romance – that takes place in Hawai’i. If you know me, you know I love the Hawai’ian Islands and there were so many places that featured in the story where I had been, it made my connection to the novel even stronger.

Here’s the description:

ABOUT THE BOOK:

For fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, RED SKY OVER HAWAII is historical women’s fiction set in the islands during WWII. It’s the story of a woman who has to put her safety and her heart on the line when she becomes the unexpected guardian of a misfit group and decides to hide with them in a secret home in the forest on Kilauea Volcano.

The attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything for Lana Hitchcock. Arriving home on the Big Island too late to reconcile with her estranged father, all she can do is untangle the clues of his legacy, which lead to a secret property in the forest on Kilauea Volcano. America has been drawn into WWII, and amid rumors of impending invasion, the army places the islands under martial law. When they start taking away neighbors as possible sympathizers, Lana finds herself suddenly guardian to two girls, as well as accomplice to an old family friend who is Japanese, along with his son. In a heartbeat, she makes the decision to go into hiding with them all.

The hideaway house is not what Lana expected, revealing its secrets slowly, and things become even more complicated by the interest of Major Grant Bailey, a soldier from the nearby internment camp. Lana is drawn to him, too, but needs to protect her little group. With a little help from the magic on the volcano, Lana finds she can open her bruised heart to the children–and maybe to Grant.

A lush and evocative novel about doing what is right against the odds, following your heart, and what makes a family.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Ackerman is the USA Today bestselling author of The Lieutenant’s Nurse and Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

While I could have had a bit more suspense and less romance, overall this was a great read. I’d love to read more of Ms. Ackerman’s novels. They are well-plotted and paced.

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my ARC, and for letting me have a little “visit to the Islands”!

Children of the Stars by Mario Escobar

Description

From international bestselling author Mario Escobar comes a story of escape, sacrifice, and hope amid the perils of the Second World War.

August 1942. Jacob and Moses Stein, two young Jewish brothers, are staying with their aunt in Paris amid the Nazi occupation. The boys’ parents, well-known German playwrights, have left the brothers in their aunt’s care until they can find safe harbor for their family. But before the Steins can reunite, a great and terrifying roundup occurs. The French gendarmes, under Nazi order, arrest the boys and take them to the Vélodrome d’Hiver—a massive, bleak structure in Paris where thousands of France’s Jews are being forcibly detained.

Jacob and Moses know they must flee in order to survive, but they only have a set of letters sent from the South of France to guide them to their parents. Danger lurks around every corner as the boys, with nothing but each other, trek across the occupied country. Along their remarkable journey, they meet strangers and brave souls who put themselves at risk to protect the children—some of whom pay the ultimate price for helping these young refugees of war.

This inspiring novel, now available for the first time in English, demonstrates the power of family and the endurance of the human spirit—even through the darkest moments of human history.

I have enjoyed reading other novels by Mario Escobar so I was excited to get this one via Net Galley. While it tells a memorable and suspenseful story of two brothers, I must admit that sometimes I found it stretched my ability to find it believable. If I suspended my disbelief a bit, I enjoyed this story about family and brotherhood in the time of war. Lots of historical references are built in accurately, such as the Vel d’Hiv roundup (something lots of people don’t know about since the Velodrome d’Hiver is no longer standing). I will share it with my high school daughter as it’s not a disturbing read, but instead one of hope and resilience.

Thank you for my ARC, Thomas Nelson Publishers!

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

Description

Inspired by an incredible true story of two Jewish friends who survived the Holocaust, this sweeping novel of love and friendship spans World War II from Budapest to Austria and the postwar years from Naples to Caracas, perfect for fans of The German Girl and We Were the Lucky Ones.

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Moving, evocative, and compelling, this timely tale of true friendship, love, and survival will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

I should start this review by stating that I read an ARC e-galley from Atria Books through Net Galley. The final product may differ.

I need to be honest and say that I had mixed feelings on this book. I am a huge WWII genre fan and I really like true stories the best as I tend to find them inspiring and compelling. However, while this story is based on true events, I found it hard to believe. (But hey – truth can be stranger than fiction!). I struggled to connect to both of the main characters, preferring Vera over Edith as Edith seemed petulant and self-centered for most of the book. I found events hard to believe (e.g. one of the Rothschilds sees their picture in Time Magazine and sponsors them to come to the US but drops dead and can’t pick them up at Ellis Island so they go elsewhere; Vera falls in love with her boss and they truly love each other, but he leaves her as he can’t have children due to mumps as a child). I guess the thing that is hardest for me is that throughout this story, people want to help these two young women not because they have been through and survived the Holocaust and lost their families, but because they are beautiful.

I struggled a bit with the writing in parts, esp in the dialogues, but again, my copy was an ARC.

So – I did find the story really interesting of how they survived while hiding in a barn and helping with a farm, and how they went to Caracas as many Jewish refugees did and started over, and how they rebuilt their lives. And maybe all the amazing events are true — as I said truth can be stranger than fiction — there really was an Edith Ban who was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor who lived in Boston, was she the same Edith as in this book?

Overall I was left with mixed emotions. I don’t want this review to seem negative, I’m just being honest. I would have loved a bit at the end where the author says what’s true and what isn’t!

If you want a WWII read that is part romance and part survival and based on true events, then pick up a copy of The Light After the War! Let me know what you think.